In what’s the first appearance of the SuperSprint format, the round will be decided by three 36-lap heats – one on Saturday and two on Sunday.
To determine the grid for the first race we’ll see the new-look three-part qualifying in action for the first time. The system is more closely modelled on Formula 1 than its predecessor, with three 10-minute sessions to determine positions 21-24, 11-20 and finally the top 10.
The grids for the Sunday heats will be set through a standard 10-minute all-in session for each race, held back-to-back.
The field will run on the Dunlop soft compound control tyre this weekend, after using the hard compound at Mount Panorama, while the new fastest lap bonus rule will also make its debut. There will be an additional five points on offer per race, bumping the total haul for the weekend up to 315.
Shane van Gisbergen will bring a 33-point lead into Sandown off the back of his Bathurst double, however there is a question mark over his fitness. The Kiwi broke his collarbone while mountain biking less than a fortnight ago and it’s still not entirely clear if he’ll be able to race this weekend.
As it stands he’s set to try and drive the car in practice, after which a final decision will be made.
If he’s unable to race the car Garth Tander is on standby.
Van Gisbergen’s teammate Jamie Whincup will be looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristically quiet showing in Bathurst, while another driver looking for redemption will be Tim Slade. He and the new Blanchard Racing Team went close to a giant-killing performance in the first race of the season, only for a gear selection glitch to fire Slade into the wall a few laps from home while he was fighting for a podium.
The crash ruled him out of Sunday’s race at Bathurst and means he’ll be in BRT’s spare Ford Mustang for Sandown this weekend.
2021 Supercars Sandown SuperSprint session times
All times local (GMT +11)
Saturday March 20
8:20-8:40 Heritage Revival – Practice
8:50-9:10 Carrera Cup – Practice 1
9:20-9:50 Supercars – Practice 1
10:00-10:20 S5000 – Practice 1
10:30-10:50 Carrera Cup – Practice 2
11:00-11:20 Heritage Revival – Qualifying
11:30-12:00 Supercars – Practice 2
12:10-12:30 S5000 – Practice 2
12:40-13:00 Carrera Cup – Qualifying
13:10-13:30 Heritage Revival – Race 1
13:45-13:55 Supercars – Qualifying 1
14:00-14:10 Supercars – Qualifying 2
14:15-14:25 Supercars – Qualifying 3
14:40-14:55 S5000 – Qualifying
15:05-15:25 Heritage Revival – Race 2
15:35-16:00 Carrera Cup – Race 1
16:45-17:45 Supercars – Race 1
Sunday March 21
9:25-9:45 S5000 – Heat 1
9:55-10:15 Heritage Revival – Race 3
10:30-10:40 Supercars – Qualifying (Race 2)
10:50-11:00 Supercars – Qualifying (Race 3)
11:15-11:35 S5000 – Heat 2
11:45-12:05 Heritage Revival – Race 4
12:15-13:00 Carrera Cup – Race 2
13:30-14:30 Supercars – Race 2
14:45-15:10 S5000 – Feature Race
15:20-15:45 Carrera Cup – Race 3
16:30-17:30 Supercars – Race 3